Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird

Update: Colorado UFO activist promises video of an actual ET today
“It shows an extraterrestrial’s head popping up outside of a window at night, looking in the window, that’s visible through an infrared camera.” The authenticity of the video, he says, has been vouched for by an “instructor” at the Colorado Film School in Denver. (This activist is the guy noted in NOTW Daily, 5-3-2008, who’s mighty worried that Coloradoans have no disaster plan for alien landings.) Rocky Mountain News

Peru guards its guano as demand soars again [NY Times hed]
Twenty islands off the coast are environmentally-ideal toilets for seabirds, with guano a foot high in places (though in the 19th century, it was 150 feet high), and with world prices up for organic fertilizer, a gold rush is on (well, $500 a ton, but Peru seems to be excited about that). New York Times

Skirmishes break out in India as lower-class Gujjars complain that they’re overrated
Ashamed of its caste system, India has set up super-affirmative action, and the Gujjars have taken to the streets in several cities to demand that they be downgraded to a level with even better benefits. Reuters

Civilization in Decline

F State renews the driver’s license of Lillian Cox, 101
She’s been driving since, er, 1915. WKMG-TV (Orlando)

U.S. war dead now includes 12 soldiers electrocuted, some long after Pentagon was warned of the problem
Once again, Kellogg Brown Root is involved, in shoddy electrical grounding by its subcontractors, but it pointed out that its contract doesn’t cover “repair” and that it long ago reported the problem to the Pentagon, which dropped the ball. CNN

The Human Condition Today

Girlfriend from hell, on trial in New Hampshire
He stayed with her for 6 yrs even though she constantly beat him up, sometimes publicly, so maybe, y’know, the sex was great, and at least she didn’t kill him like she’s charged with doing to 2 other guys. Boston Globe

Fists and hair-pulling . . . at the small-town Maine historical society meeting
Bangor Daily News

School teacher said she had no idea her honor-student son was doing that to her two dogs
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Your Daily Loser
Randall Popkes, 41, and his son Joshua Williams, 22, were charged with burglary at a country club, even though they made off only with shoes and tennis rackets. They had spent most of their time trying, without success, to saw open the safe. They left this note behind: “[expletive deleted] you and your safe.” Des Moines Register

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Dwight Pannell, 43, was charged with a few counts of something or other after a student at a Univ. of Cincinnati library said Pannell had spritzed a liquid on her foot while he was crouched under a table and then photographed it. [Yr Editor guesses it was a bodily fluid, but they don’t know yet] Cincinnati Enquirer

NOTW Lite
Researchers found a tiny waterborne organism that hasn’t had sex in 40m yrs but survives by stealing DNA from, well, anything that moves . . . . . Recurring Theme: The only clever criminals are indeed drug smugglers, as in this finely-detailed statue of Jesus molded out of cocaine paste (but ya can’t fool those dogs) . . . . . Cause or effect? A man who lives across the street from a high school was caught on the grounds with a Taser, having earlier threatened students on his MySpace page, and, by the way, he was wearing a dress and said he needed help with “gender issues.”

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe Monday.™

Newsrangers: Ginger Katz, Dan Bohlen, Cindy Hildebrand, Jim Pross, Zach Chaney, Sam Varshavchik
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird

He’s schizophrenic and on methadone maintenance, but state and feds say there was no legal basis to deny him his gun permit
Federal and Washington denial laws kick in only on hospitalization or a judge’s order; he’s being held in a Seattle shooting. Post-Intelligencer

British couple’s authentic Hindu temple set up in their spare bedroom in 1979 passes 50,000 worshipers
It’s a quiet neighborhood in Essex, except for the 100 pilgrims a day lining up in the yard, into the hallway, and up the stairs (with photos). Daily Mail (London)

Britain’s rape-conviction rate less than half that of the U.S.; both judges and police are blamed for not taking charges seriously
Apparently the “drunk / hoochie-dressed woman” defense works pretty well for men--about six times better than it used to work in the 1970s. Washington Post

The Human Condition Today

An apartment break-in, from the balcony, by a naked man . . . on the 10th floor
Police, stumped, send him for a mental checkup, but readers think he’s a boyfriend from another apartment who needed a getaway when the husband came home. Ann Arbor News

Stripper sues club after her DUI injury, claiming they made her drink with customers
You mean Yr Editor buys the “hostesses” real booze? I thought it was just ginger ale at whiskey prices. Birmingham News

Smartest kid in school is too smart to be valedictorian, so the runner-up gets the top-gun scholarship
Anjali Datta finished number one at Grapevine (Tex.) High School, with a nearly-5%-higher GPA than number-two’s, but she completed all the courses in 3 yrs, and the scholarship award stipulates “four years of high school.” Dallas Morning News

The Simian Condition Today: Not only can you and I learn how to control a robot arm just by thinking about it, but so can a monkey
Previous studies showed that monkeys could move a robot arm with their thoughts, but in this one, the monkeys taught themselves how to use it. New York Times

Update: A Washington Post dispatch yesterday reported that the chemical-ingestion way of taking The Only Way Out in Japan (in which fumes sickened 54 people in the hospital when the dying man vomited [NOTW Daily, 5-23-2008]) is the current trendy method of early departure, numbering nearly 300 in the last year. But ultimately, said the Post, Japan is a polite society, and in April, a chemical suicider had taped this note to his closed car’s windshield: “Don’t come near – poisonous gas.” (Bonus: A Taiwanese man this week, distraught over his girlfriend’s death, tried to check out by climbing into the morgue freezer to join her, but was pulled out, barely in time.) Washington Post / Reuters

And Also:

An Austin, Tex., fire lieutenant gets canned because he ordered the truck on call to wait two minutes until his order was done at the Burger House next door . . . . . Among the 170,000 items of found property turned in at the London subway office in the last yr were a stuffed puffer fish, two human skulls, several plastic limbs, and a pair of breast implants . . . . . Luckiest man alive: A motorist in Australia’s outback stopped to answer nature’s call, squatted, and got nipped by an ultra-venomous Brown Snake (but, as occasionally happens, it fired a blank).

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Yr Editor’s been watching this site for a while, wary of the sorta on-vacation note on the home page, which says they’ll be back May 26th. The sign’s still there, but the page is mouth-watering: a richly-textured chocolate, er, sphincter. The graphics are safe for work, but maybe not the name: EdibleAnus.com

Newsrangers: Stephen Taylor, Paul Music, H.Thompson, Michael Bellesiles, Raul Stone-Cousley, Kirk Haverkamp
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird

Meet Mrs. Berlin Wall, Mrs. Eiffel Tower, Mrs.--OK, this has gone far enough . . .
In a long piece presumably by the documentary-maker who did the car-sex thing last Sunday for Channel Five, London’s Independent previews next week’s show, on people supposedly in love with inanimate things besides cars (“objectum-sexuality,” which sounds like a poor attempt at pig latin). A Swedish woman still feels married to the Berlin Wall (and pissed that she’s now a widow); a San Francisco woman has committed marriage to the Eiffel Tower; and New Yorker Amy Wolfe plays the field, though the writer here says he witnessed her cooing and fondling a fairground ride. “They say” there are 40 members of a support group and that they aren’t fetishists but people deeply into romantic relationships with their objects. Two actual shrinks check in, taking the claims seriously (though neither has actually treated anyone for this).
The Independent (London)

Militaries, too, need to reduce their carbon footprints; hence, “environmentally friendly” bombs
TNT releases carbon and some toxics, but cleaner nitrogen’ll blow things up just as cool, say German scientists LiveScience.com

Finger-regrowing “pixie dust” in the news again, but this time in U.S. Army surgery
A finger-regrowing success story surfaced in April but was discounted, in part because it smelled of a for-profit research firm’s exaggeration (and because the secret ingredient was “pig intestine”). But something very similar was tried last week at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. The concoction tricks cells into thinking they’re all young again and should be growing. New York Daily News-AP (original pixie-dust success) / The Guardian (London) (naah, it’s junk science) / CNN-AP (latest)

Send your panties to the Burmese Embassy in Ottawa
Myanmar’s ruling generals (who consult astrologers daily) are said to believe that cooties from women’s panties will turn them wimpy, and Canadian peace activists are on the job. CTV.ca

The Human Condition Today

Stranger shoots four at Arkansas wedding because his dog and the couple’s dog had a fight
The bride and groom are in intensive care. KTHV-TV (Little Rock)

Officers, SWAT team surround gunshot house for 7 hours, but neglect to knock on door; shooter had fallen asleep before they arrived and slept through the siege
WTMJ Radio (Milwaukee)

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A 38-yr-old man was arrested in Takasaki, Japan, for having called a food company’s toll-free line 500 times (total time: 3,100 hours) to listen to an automated message by a woman whose voice excited him. Reuters

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Dennis Flores, a career-threatened city councilman in Lorain, Ohio, picked up in a prostitution-solicitation sting

NOTW Lite
The Palm Beach Post, digging dirt from public records, found that Celine Dion’s house in the area uses 250x as much water as the average resident’s, and Tiger Woods’s, 150x . . . . . New York City high school students learn a universal truth: The really dysfunctional kids are the middle-schoolers (here, bullying the big kids) . . . . . Paul Hurst got upset that he was denied admission to a casino bar in Australia because he was “inappropriately attired,” but you be the judge!

Professor Music’s Weird Links
What do you do if you’re in the colon-cleansing racket, and you’ve tried patiently, through books and articles, to convince people how dangerous a junked-up intestine is, but you seem to have exhausted the available market? Well, you expand the market by trying to persuade the people who have been ignoring you. But you need something really dramatic! This lady invited her veteran colon cleansers to not just describe their experiences but to, er, send photos of the actual gunk that came out. Seriously. No, I mean it, seriously. The photos of the evacuated contents are accompanied, seemingly proudly, by the name and photo of the contents’ former owner.

NOTW, The Blog
A few more good stories (now stale) from late last week: The 73-yr-old woman likes to walk around the house naked, which disgusts her son, which ticked her off and caused her to shoot herself in the finger . . . . . A kindergarten teacher called for a class vote on whether to kick out their unruly classmate (he gone, 14-2) (but not really) . . . . . A fourth human foot in 9 months, still shoe-clad, has washed ashore around Vancouver.

Newsrangers: Kurt Knochel, Stephen Taylor, Craig Wesselman, Paul Bruesch, Bea Westrate, Mark Macdonald, Karl Olson, Richard Martin, Kirsten MacKenzie
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday's Creme de la Weird

British tranny soldier with “hurt feelings” gets nearly the gov’t compensation that war-zone soldiers who lose both arms or legs get
Jan Hamilton (née Capt. Ian Hamilton) was ordered to report for a medical exam as a man, and she felt humiliated and demeaned, and the Ministry of Defence apologized and sent £250k.
Daily Telegraph (London)

Saudi sheikh/owner of Cairo Grand Hyatt orders all liquor poured out; it takes staff the entire day
BBC News

Human rights commission in India orders Hindu temple to let employees wear underwear
The temple in Kerala state takes in so much money, gold, and jewels that workers can only wear approved, pocketless sarongs. BBC News

Welsh town council orders historic pine tree chopped down because its needles are sharp
“Every” effort must be made, said one safety “expert,” to keep needles away from children. Daily Mail (London)

Australian state att’y gen’l says sorry ‘bout executing that innocent guy in 1921
(And Thursday night, Independent Film Channel will profile a retired Texas prison chaplain who oversaw 95 executions and is pretty sure at least one guy he knew was innocent.)
Australian Broadcasting Corp. /New York Times

Colorado casino shuttle bus service gets $382k in Homeland Security grants
Colorado Springs Gazette

Schizophrenic, daughter-murdering dad granted unsupervised day pass from mental hospital, doesn’t come back
(But he was rigorously evaluated and found deserving, officials say, or else we never would have let him go . . . honest!) CBC News

Brat Alert: (1) Leadfoot Nick Bollea (Hulk Hogan’s son), sentenced to do 8 months in county jail for the reckless accident that severely brain-damaged his best friend, complained to the Hulkster that his cell is “half the size of my bathroom [at home].” “I can’t deal with this for eight months.” He said his lawyer implied that if he pleaded no-contest, he’d get a minimum-security cell and could play cards. Said Hulk, “I’m proud of you, brother.” (2) Stefanie Woods is the 18-yr-old F-Stater who swiped the cookie money from a Girl Scout and then said on camera that she was “pissed” that she “got caught” [NOTW M047, 3-2-2008]. She was convicted last week of the theft charge and will be sentenced in June. Then, a couple of days later, she pleaded no-contest to skipping out on a $28 tab at a Denny’s. She said she was sorry, but “I still don’t think it gives [people] the right to be screaming things at me at Publix, at Starbucks, at Wal-Mart, at Target. People scream things at me every single day, and it’s getting really hard.” Tampa Tribune / WPEC-TV (West Palm Beach) (and there's a 17-slide show about her on PalmBeachPost.com)

The Human Condition Today

Minor-league pitcher John Odom was traded to another team for 10 baseball bats
It started as player-for-player, but the other guy wouldn’t go, so they settled on lumber.
Sports Illustrated-AP

There’s such a thing as a Fantasy Fishing tournament, “like fantasy football,” said Joe Collins, who was the winner of the Wal-Mart Open fantasy tournament, getting $100k. (Bonus: The actual fishing-fishing winner of the Wal-Mart Open won $200k.) KSLA-TV (Shreveport)-AP

Dead baby frozen solid in motel room freezer, but mom and dad still used the freezer for a year
Houston Chronicle

Your Daily Loser
Sharon Pratt, who her Murphy Motors (Williston, N.D.) employer said had just stolen $5k from him and left town, was picked up in Pittsburgh, Pa., after she gave “Murphy Motors” as a reference for a new job. Fargo Forum-AP

NOTW Lite
Not only did the dog fail the drug-sniff test that Japanese customs agents set up for him at Narita Int’l Airport, but the agent who planted the cannabis forgot which luggage he hid it in (and would appreciate your calling them if you find it). (Seriously) Agence France-Presse

Update: A Mexican theme-park-type adventure lets visitors experience simulated illegal U.S. border-crossing [NOTW 897, 4-13-2005], but this story is richer than the earlier one and concludes that the operators don’t quite encourage their paisanos to try it in real life].
Los Angeles Times

Update: U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson flatly denied the substance of the Capitol Weekly story (via Los Angeles Times) that she walked away from her mortgage [NOTW Daily, 5-23-2008] or that it’s in foreclosure. On the other hand, about the time she was deciding to say that, someone was buying the house at auction. The Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.) then wrote that it’s the third house purchase she's screwed up recently, though she did get current with one. She told a reporter she’s just been busy lately. Daily Breeze

Update: The police chief in Washington (District of Calamity), who said last week she was re-hiring 17 fired, guilty cops because of a due-process legal technicality [NOTW Daily, 5-21-2008], now says she will try to re-fire them, based on the fact that they’d always be lousy witnesses in court, in that they're all officially-declared liars. Washington Post

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Yr Editor informed you in February [NOTW M044, 2-10-2008] about China’s fascination with crickets, and especially cockfight-type cricket fights, which are video’d up on big screens for roomsful of spectators and bettors. So, well, here’s a website with lots of close-ups of bug fights, though it says these are from Japan.

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Some editor somewhere apparently made up another story about someone inserting an air hose into someone else’s rectum and sorta inflating him. This one supposedly happened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, but . . .. (2) Here are some more links to that “sex with cars” thing from Friday [NOTW Daily, 5-23-2008]. This is the 415-member Yahoo Group (but you have to join to see the posts). Here’s a detailed FAQ page with energetic explanations of everything! This is a TV promotion for this past weekend’s program on the subject on Britain’s Channel Five. NOTW reader John Holsinger sent a tear sheet from a UK magazine with an interview of “Jordan Witham,” 20, of “Missouri, USA,” who’s really into his main car, a lady, but lately he’s two-timing her with a male car (a Trans-Am), not that there's anything wrong wi--wait, there is something wrong with that. Yr Editor knows that there are occasionally crazed drunks or pranksters who simulate sex by humping bicycles, etc., and here’s one from last week of a nude Californian undulating against a car’s windshield, but that’s not, y’know, real sex. All this rich writing looks straight out of a 1980s Penthouse Forum, and the interviews and photos are guys out for a hoot.

Newsrangers: Stephen Taylor, Karl Olson, Harry Farkas, Tom Barker, H.Thompson, Alan Magid, Christopher Nalty, Paul Music, Emory Kimbrough, Jamie Anderson, David Pines
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird
Crimestopper: The concerned driver in Seattle punched 911 on his phone to report a danger he encountered on the road. Dispatcher: “What are you reporting?” Driver: “I just don’t know if I’m safe to be driving . . . I’m pretty drunk. I don’t feel good.” He gave directions to where he was. KCPQ-TV (Seattle)

Too Good To Be True? It says here that a 16-yr-old kid in Waterloo, Ont., has solved one of the world’s most vexing environmental problems. So, either this’ll be all over the papers soon, or he’ll be busted. The kid isolated and ID’d bacteria that can rapidly break down polyethelene plastic bags (y’know, 500 billion produced a yr, takes 1,000 yrs to decompose). He says one has been previously ID’d as breaking down polystyrene, but if it has a helper to mate with, it works on polyethelene. Yr Editor doesn’t know jack about this, but reporter from The Record (Kitchener, Ont.) goes step by patient step, and the kid just won top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, raking in (Cdn)$30k. The Record

Makes His Dipstick Moist: Channel Five in Britain is working on a documentary about mechaphilia and has located a guy from Washington state who’s either a grand fake or beyond help because he goes on and on about how he only romances cars, currently his main gal Vanilla (a VW Beetle). “I’m a romantic. I write poetry about cars, I sing to them and talk to them just like a girlfriend. I know what’s in my heart, and I have no desire to change.” Edward Smith is 57, says he first had sex “with” a car when he was 15, and hasn’t had sex with a human in years. The “global community” of “car lovers” allegedly numbers 500, or so they say in “Internet forums.” Yr Editor may troll these forums over the weekend, and I’ll let you know what I find. After all, it’s my job. Daily Telegraph (London)

Loving Family: In redneck Ocala, Fla., Brenda Hecht, 45, fed up with the laziness of son Chamborg, 18, got into it with him, and finally she grabbed a meat cleaver (and didn’t cleave him, just hit him several times). “I popped him in the head with the wrong thing. It was just there.” But, he said, she did threaten to cut off my head and my junk. Said she, “He talks about it too much anyway; there’s more to life than that.” Ocala Star-Banner

Larry Craig Bobblehead: Baseball’s St. Paul Saints will hand out 2,500 bobblehead souvenirs at Sunday’s game, but not of a player. It’s of a restroom stall with two lower legs and feet, and one of the feet bobbles (“taps,” which the team says with a stiff lip is in honor of Nat’l Tap Dance Day). It was at Minneapolis/St.Paul Int’l Airport that U.S. Sen. Larry Craig set up his famous wide-stance toe tap. Star Tribune

Thoughtless Suicidals: The Japanese kill themselves so frequently that it’s surprising they don’t more often accidentally take other people with them (as when one jumps off a building and inadvertently lands on a pedestrian [NOTW M007, 5-27-2007]). The 34-yr-old farmer in Kumamoto took The Only Way Out by ingesting chloropicrin, which has so much chlorine that when he later vomited at the hospital, 54 people got sick from the fumes. Mainichi Daily News

You Will Trust Me: Zurich Univ. scientists announced preliminary success with a nasal spray that upped the oxytocin level so that it reduced hyperactivity in the amygdala area of the brain, such hyperactivity being associated with excessive fear of people. Oxy-sprayed people proved more gullible (er, trusting) in tests than placebo-sprayed people. Yr Editor is certain that this work will be used only to bring “social phobia” sufferers up to normal levels and not for any other negative or dangerous or scary purpose at all. BBC News

And also . . .
Sycamore, Ill., where parking meters take pennies, raises its overstaying fine to $1 . . . . . An action-movie-type fight inside the cab of a big-rig (after the driver siphoned gasoline from the other guy’s tank) . . . . . Vindication months later for a wrongly-accused ambulance attendant who was merely trying to calm down the drug-crazed female masturbatrix . . . . . The Australian estranged wife who can’t seem to survive on A$800k/yr . . . . . An underappreciated suburban Chicago man who thought buying a personal fire truck would endear him to the neighbors . . . . . Experts from 10 countries spent time finally, officially defining (after review of all 100 studies over 65 yrs) just what constitutes “premature ejaculation.”

NOTW, The Blog
(1) Don't fret, dear readers. I'm just tinkering a bit with the format. Not ready to switch everything around just yet. I'll change some things back on Tuesday (when I return after the Monday U.S. holiday). (2) FYI, “5 Bullsh** Stories the Whole Internet Fell For” from Gawker.com. You didn’t read any of them on NOTW. By the way, there’s much more to the 4th item on Yalie Aliza Shvarts, which involved not strictly bs but Drudge and others jumping to conclusions (that she might well have wanted jumped to) based on her perhaps carefully chosen words.

Newsrangers: Harry Farkas, Joe Littrell, James Hanes, Christine Umayam, Bruce Leiserowitz, Raul Stone-Cousley, Tim Kennedy.
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird
Federal Budget Stewardess: Trapped in one of those free mortgages that were handed out like candy over the last few yrs (er, well, no upfront, out-of-pocket): U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson of California (who also got the seller to front her closing costs), and a reporter found that she just walked away from the house in March, owing all $535k plus $40k in accumulated interest. Capitol Weekly via Los Angeles Times

Hell Will Have Cable TV: A USA Today roundup lists some school districts that have instituted minimum “50" scores for class instead of “0.” Pro: Well, the other letter grades only have a 10-point range (A is 100 to 90) so an F should, too (59 to 50). Con, of course: half-credit for no work.

Brave New Pooch: California’s BioArts International has partnered with a South Korean firm and will auction off, on June 18, the rights to clone five dogs, with suggested opening bids of $100k. BioArts cloned three dogs last yr from “Missy,” who died in 2002. The Korean firm is the one with fraudster Hwang Woo Suk in it, but BioArts said, Oh, well, that was with his human embryo work, and this is dog stuff. (Under-realized fact: A clone of your loving Fritzy will still be a total stranger.)

No Religion Left Behind: A Penn State researcher’s survey of high-school science teachers revealed that about a fourth spend time on something they’d call “creation” science and that half of them (12 percent of all science teachers) teach creationism as a “valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species.”

Update: Undaunted by their earlier defeat in Austria’s Supreme Court to have a chimpanzee declared a “person,” a Vienna-based animal-rights organization has convinced the European Court of Human Rights to consider the case. (Backstory: A sanctuary in Austria has gone bankrupt, and activists fear that its existing chimps will be sold into research outside Austria, where animal abuse laws are more lax. Donations for chimps’ upkeep cannot reliably be handled without a legal guardian, the activists say. [NOTW M010, 6-17-2007])

Civilization in Decline
Handy Road-Rage Kit: In Butler, Mo. (about an hour south of Kansas City), a car dealer offers a premium of either $250 in gas or a semi-automatic handgun (and 80 percent choose the heat) . . . . . Several people have been fired as a result of a Chinese travel magazine’s decision to shoot a photo spread, using scantily-clad women, from around the earthquake sites.

NOTW Lite
Washington state’s Health Dept. did as ordered and suggested a specific amount of medical marijuana allowed as a “60-day” supply under the law, but it was almost 2 pounds’ worth, and the governor said go think harder . . . . . A man was arrested for abusing the 911 line in Waco, Tex., by calling 15 times because he was tired of waiting for a taxi (the perp: Mr. Kevin Waits) . . . . . A North Carolina high school bus driver is accused of, uh, letting her daughter give a tattoo to one of her riders during the trip . . . . . The Zappos shoe company apparently does many things right, according to a Harvard Business School blog, especially the part about training you for a week, then offering you $1,000 to quit the company (about 10 percent take it, by definition, the meeee! people) [Link from Fark.com]

Updates
Waddah “Martin” Mustapha’s case, before Canada’s Supreme Court, is scheduled to be decided today; he’ll find out whether the Cdn$341k he won at trial in 2005 was enough to compensate him for the great trauma of seeing a fly in his water bottle (actually, a fly's big blue butt, he said) [NOTW Daily, 3-21-2008]. [Update of Update: He lost, 9-0. No money.]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Neil Gimon, Mark Neunder, Ed Duval, Christine Malone, Tom Barker
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird
Can’t Possibly Be True: Police said Darrell Walker, 30, Bartlesville, Okla., routinely disciplines his son, 8, and daughter, 7, by shooting them with his BB gun (except that the girl said, once, when he ran out of BB’s, he just bopped her in the head with the gun). (This is a step down toward hell from the May 5 [NOTW Daily, 5-5-2008] maternal BB-winging of a little girl, which was just over the woman’s desire to win a $1 bet with her boyfriend.)

Wives 2, Husbands 0: After 7 weeks of marital bliss, Nevada Assemblywoman Francis Allen was charged with stabbing her husband in the arm in a fight and then, when he asked for help, telling him to call his mother (but both tried to change the story later). And when F-Stater Adam Ward fell behind in his marriage-dissolution payments, the estranged missus commandeered his computer to encourage him to pay up, but then he reported the blatant extortion to the police, who later found Adam’s child pornography on it.

District of Calamity: The Washington, D.C., police chief re-hired 17 officers who had been fired for blatant misconduct but only because the department had not made final disposition of each case within “55 days,” as personnel rules require. The department said that, at the time of firing, people viewed “55" as just a guideline. (The Washington Post had revealed that between 1991-1993, the more-than-200 suspended or fired cops had been reinstated by the courts based on the 55-day rule.)

Freedom of the Press: A Court of the something-something in Brussels, interpreting the “free press” part of Belgium’s Constitution, found that it applies only to “writers” and not to an “illustrator” whose cartoon equated a Belgian businessman with Congo’s former dictator Mobutu. And don’t even try to claim “free press” if you’re TV or the Internet! (On the other hand, the Court figured the businessman was hurt only 1 euro’s worth.)

Legislature in Action: Maine last had a nuclear plant in 1997, but it continues to have a nuclear safety advisor and a nuclear safety inspector, with a total budget of $276k. Turns out the legislature’d like to eliminate them, but the current advisor is a former state senate big shot, so that job stays, and to make that not look too obvious, they kept the other job, too.

The Human Condition Today
A Miami (Ohio) Univ. student died of his injuries suffered 3 weeks ago when he fell out of bed at a frat house (it was a loft bed, but still . .) . . . . . Police in LaCrosse, Wis., notifying a 17-yr-old boy about a complaint that he had posted nude photos of an underage girl on his MySpace page and giving him a chance to take them down, was charged, anyway, when he allegedly responded, “[expletive] that. I am keeping them up.”

Your Daily Loser
Cops still don’t know his name, but he’d been running a fraudulent credit-card scam in central Florida, until a convenience store clerk alerted police, who descended on the store, causing Our Man to flee, except that he ran full speed into the front door (Bonus: mug shot reflects souvenirs of the door’s decisive victory)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Zachary Rodriguez, 18, scheduled to graduate from high school last Saturday morning, stands accused of a break-in theft Friday night (Bonus: and a vial of cocaine in his rectum)

NOTW Lite
Now, even the Gotti mob family’s suffering from sour mortgage loans: “Sal” squeezed and squeezed, and finally “persuaded” the faltering company to pay up, but now the feds are suing Sal for collecting his marker more efficiently than the bankruptcy trustee can collect his own markers on behalf of the company’s other creditors . . . . . An F-State mom and son were able to spend quality time when their hearings were called before the same judge in the same afternoon (he, rape; she, probation violation).

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

NOTW, The Blog
(1) The baby survived, so this wouldn’t qualify for Yr Editor’s “middle-name-Wayne murderers” list, anyway, but, charged with child abuse in Gastonia, N.C.: Sharena Waynette Bess . . . . . (2) Yr Editor’s Fine Whinery: Yr Editor dutifully reported to you [NOTW Daily, 5-6-2008] the case of the middle-school teacher supposedly sacked because his in-class magic trick was termed, he said, “wizardry” by his superiors. I told you at the time that there was more to the story (he had several transgressions on his record that dwarfed any religious text), and in fact, there had to be more because not even an F State school board would do that, if only because there are far more acceptable, bulletproof words and phrases one could use to accomplish the same religious-based firing. A follow-up by the St. Petersburg Times on Sunday put the story into perspective. It’s quite clear that the teacher made up the “w” word simply to attract attention, and it worked (except he’s still fired). The poor school board member got death threats from afar after Keith Olbermann (among many others) trashed her, based upon completely slurping up the original, uncritical use of the teacher’s word “wizardry.” And that’s what “news” has become these days on the Internet and on cable and local TV. Run with the sensational because the Internet audience, and the cable and local TV audience, are all about now; current; quick; first; pizzazz; outrage; boom! Left behind is what used to be “news,” and that includes, too often, Yr Editor, who is forced to discard three or four otherwise-fabulous, but poorly-“reported,” stories every day that popular Internet news aggregators salivate over. End of rant. Thankya, thankyaverrmuch.

Newsrangers: Karl Olson, Jeff Berg, John DeJong, Don Tyler, Harry Farkas
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday’s Creme de la Weird
Buffy Studies: You can still make arrangements to attend the academic conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer studies, in Arkadelphia, Ark., June 5-8. It’s not a fan convention; it’s one of those boring panels ‘n’ papers events, because only so much research around the show can be published in the field’s leading journal, Watcher Junior, edited by Prof. Lynne Edwards of Ursinus College. AP via Yahoo

It’s What’s Next: Pet Angel Memorial Center opened its third full-service pet funeral home (need a minister? procession? choice of caskets? body viewing?), near Weird Central. (And the veterinarians’ association recommended at a Congressional hearing last week that pet food list the calories right there on the package, even though calorie-listing for humans has coincided with increasing obesity.)

Yummmm: There’s an 11-state, E.coli beef recall in effect now, involving a Chicago company that packages “Boneless Clods,” “Gooseneck Rounds,” and “Knuckle,” among other things, which brings to mind this recent ForbesTraveler.com piece describing how fancy chefs are charging fancy prices for fancy dishes of out-of-the-way parts (lamb’s tongue, duck hearts, and the delicious rooster comb [simmered with red wine and porcini mushrooms until fork-tender, according to the head chef at NYC’s Casa Mono]). “I really enjoy cooking a pig’s head . . . then taking the liquid it was cooked in and turning it into gelatin . . . a beautiful terrine.” One chef’s website is OffalGood.com.

The Human Condition Today
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and his family vacationed in the F State last week, and we’re glad to have the revenue, but the week before that, he issued a formal proclamation telling Kentuckians to vacation in Kentucky this year . . . . . Another high-GPA student is no longer with us, having done a swan dive onto a moving car in Granite City, Ill., and falling off on his head . . . . . A mother was hospitalized in Wichita, Kan., after trying to demonstrate to her nearly-grown daughters that a person cannot get hurt stepping out of a car that was going only 10 mph . . . . . Karma Rules: Three men steal a canoe and head out, two come back (after it capsized) (“He’s not here no more,” said a friend).

Your Daily Loser
Paul Baldwin, 48, Portsmouth, N.H., 152 arrests, 75 citations, etc. (and he told Judge Gardner, “I don’t need a lawyer. I’ve been in this court more than you have”)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Brendan Kelly, 32, and George Zaleski, 23, charged [remember now, “presumption of innocence”; how many times do I have to tell you?] with roughing up that police officer

NOTW Lite
Hard to picture this, or to be sure it’s real, but it’s gettin’ the press: a dual-combat video game for the urinal, for men with strong, accurate streams . . . . . An English major, rollin’ in money (well, she won $67k for a portfolio of essays and, yes, poems) . . . . . Chardon Township, Ohio, voted to turn down $10k in federal disaster money after a bad snowstorm; it was just a snowstorm, the town trustees said . . . . . A Washington Post reporter tracked pro wrestler Great Khali (63-inch chest) to his native India on vacation, found him revered as a celebrity god but, just like U.S. pro wrestlers, challenged as inauthentic, er, by traditional village mud wrestlers.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Brilliant art made entirely from chewed-up bubble gum!

Newsrangers: Carl McGlore, Dan Bennett, Rick Fink, Eric Gibbs
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday’s Creme de la Weird
Can’t Possibly Be True (I): Among this month’s college graduates are not two Duke original-Class of ‘08 lacrosse players (Reade Seligman and Colin Finnerty, for reasons you may recall), but, yes, Ms. Crystal Mangum, the crack-addled, relentlessly-lying woman who ruined last year for them. (Bonus: Her North Carolina Central University degree is in Police Psychology.)

Can’t Possibly Be True (II): In 55 of Alabama’s 67 counties, sheriffs are still governed by a 1920s state law that allots them $1.75/day to feed their prisoners. The legislature gave sheriffs the difference if they could feed ‘em for less, and in the 1920s, sheriffs made money on the deal. Today, though . . . actually, they’re still making money. (Adjusted for inflation, $1.75 then is $21 today; $1.75 today was 15 cents then.)

McGonnagall! A selection of original 19th-century poems of William Topaz McGonnagall brought in £6,600 ($13.2k) at an auction in Edinburgh, notable because McGonnagall is widely reputed to be the worst prominent poet of all-time. His work endures “[d]espite his ability to massacre poetic metaphor, his taste for banality, a weak vocabulary, and his tortuous rhymes,” said one book specialist. Wall Street Journal: “In an autobiography, he said he was visited by a vision of a ‘hand holding a quill pen’ and a voice that cried out to him, ‘Write, Write, Write!’"

In Your Face: The elected Court Clerk in the next county up from Weird Central makes $136k/yr but rarely shows up for work and doesn’t care if you know that because he’s researched it, and state law says there’s nothing anyone can do unless he misses 44 straight days (State law would then allow a judge to appoint a replacement), which means he can show up just 8 times a year if he wants (8x44 equals 352, with 13 days counting toward next year).

New Champion! A record was apparently set by a discovery last week in Zagreb, Croatia, when a woman’s mummified body was found: The last live sighting by any neighbor was 1973 (in one news report, 1966). Actually, it’s another success of capitalism! Her apartment house is now a co-op, and her neighbors wanted the flat. Until recently, the gov’t owned everything.

Questionable Assignment: A 6th-grade teacher in Jackson, Miss., is in trouble for her thinking-outside-the-box motivation exercise: She had the class vote on who among them is most likely to die by age 18, to go to jail, and most important, to get pregnant before graduation. Then, she posted the results. A dad whose daughter showed up on the last category was livid (even though 4 girls finished ahead of her).

Looks Fabulous: A Burger King in N’awlins was robbed last week, by a drag queen who climbed through the take-out window. [There’s video!] An expert commentator told WDSU-TV that it was definitely a cross-dresser and not just a man in disguise: His necklace matched the dress; his nails were painted; and the wig was well-made. “[H]e’s pretty.”

Canadians in Love: Twice last week came reports of tragedies from sex games. Crystal Boarder, 31, pleaded guilty in Guelph in the asphyxiation of her husband. First you hang me, then I’ll hang you, the Toronto Star described it. She misread the signals, despite apparently much experience. Earlier, a 25-yr-old woman in Winnipeg got a 3-yr sentence after one of her and her boyfriend’s “sex and carving” sessions went bad. He had asked her to carve another heart in his chest during sex and then to press harder; she accidentally punctured his left ventricle (but he survived).

Lovelorn Lawyer: Lance Stelzer, 58, does not take being dumped. He filed a lawsuit against the woman and demands in the “discovery” phase:
* Each and every page of your ‘journal’ which mentions, references, or contains the name Lance B. Stelzer.
* Copies of all photographs . . . which portray you dressed (fully or partially) in red negligee.
* The full name and current address of your mother, sister, and new boyfriend’s mother.
He also wanted answers to such questions as, “What was the last date upon which you loved Lance Stelzer? (Note: If you cannot give an exact date, please state your best approximation)” Miami New Times

Phobia: Rebecca Maykish, 17, has a phobia and receives compensatory education funds under Pennsylvania law. Her phobia is “school.” Been going on since 4th grade. She uses up the district’s entire comp fund, but very little goes for tutors, and as a result she seems weak in skills that most 17-yr-old students have. On the other hand, her spending seems perfectly in line with contemporary education theory, in that mom says it’s for improving Rebecca’s self-esteem (summer camp, modeling school, subscriptions to teen magazines). Morning Call (Allentown)

We're Screwed: The federal gov’t’s official balance sheet at the end of 2007 showed that we were $162 billion in the hole. But everyone knows the gov’t makes its own rules about how to figure that number. What if the gov’t were forced to calculate the number just like large, publicly-held corporations do, under generally accepted accounting principles? Uh, $57.3 trillion in the hole, said a USA Today analysis this morning. [Ed.: Ah, but that’s misleading because it includes Social Security and Medicare that all you 20-somethings are now accruing . . . and you know damn well you’re not going to get it all, anyway, so you can cut that $57.3 trillion figure down a whole lot!]

The Human Condition Today
Great Art: Among the big winners at last week’s Sotheby’s NYC auction was sculptor Takashi Murakami’s “My Lonesome Cowboy,” which pulled in $15.2m (keywords: nude, turgid, ejaculate-as-lasso) . . . . . A 20-year-old man in Roseville, Minn., tried to take The Only Way Out as painfully as he possibly could and dived into a wood-chipper, but that didn’t go right either . . . . . He wasn’t listening to his iPod or talking on the phone when the train hit him (after a long horn blast): He was concentrating on scratching off that lottery ticket he had just bought.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
The general manager of the Fox TV station in Tampa, Robert Linger, 49, was busted in a dirty-movie house Friday night participating in a circle jerk. (Seriously)

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Robert Gnade, 42, Troy, Mo., sexual assault

NOTW Lite
Brian Loncar, one of Texas’s most ubiquitous TV-ad trial lawyers (“When you’re hurt in a car wreck, you need someone on your side”) failed to yield to a siren-blaring fire truck and is in critical condition (and his '08 Bentley was killed) (and who to sue, well, maybe the guy who started the fire) . . . . . A kids’ baseball league in Freetown, Mass., administered the ultimate punishment for a mom who didn’t show up for her concession-stand duty: They benched her kid two games . . . . . Our changing world: Ikea has opened a store in Siberia, and Wal-Mart is paying a guy to think about it, too.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
One guy’s idea of the 21 best mugshots ever. Well, a few of ‘em might be. [Link from Fark.com]

Newsrangers: Joe Littrell, Michelle Schmarder, Lee Strickler, Jessica McRorie, Bob Pert, Paul Music, Stephen Taylor, Beth McGee
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday’s Creme de la Weird
The news is painful again today. About 150 seniors amassed in downtown Melbourne, Australia, to protest the gov’t's insufficient attention to them, budgetwise, and in the spirit of some third-world cultures, a few expressed their displeasure by stripping, including “a couple of lively ladies” “parad[ing] in their bras.” The Agence France-Presse report has a photo of one, but Yr Editor warns that it’s Not Safe. Not safe at all.

Detroit’s African-American mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is under siege after being caught, dead to right, lying under oath in order to protect his secret lover (that everyone knew about, anyway). He recently played the race card, claiming that he’s been called that N word more times in the last month than “any time in my entire life.” Detroit’s weekly Metro Times newspaper wondered about that (since the mayor is always isolated from the ordinary ol’ public), citing the thousands of text messages between the lovers that the Detroit Free Press had revealed, in which the couple playfully and frequently called each other that (including His Honor’s charming term of endearment for her, uh, “nigette”).

My, my, a Reuters reporter caught wind of the well-known (but not to him, or his editors) Icelandic Phallological Museum and has treated us all to his “cover.” The only update from the last go-round is that the Museum’s collection of penii still lacks a human’s (other than the personal one of curator Sigudur Hjartarson). [Contains a photo, but it's Safe For Work, unless you really, really have a problem.] [NOTW 607, 9-24-1999 (based on another Reuters story from 5-20-1999)]

In a tight “reality” job market, the Wall Street Journal reports, lots of young people are working this summer virtually, by enterprising it up on Second Life, either scavenging the virtual world for things to resell to players or creating their own products. “On a typical day, Second Life players spend close to $1.5m [fully convertible by the game’s operator] on virtual clothes, jewelry, homes, cars, and real estate.” “Research firm Gartner Media estimates that by 2011, 80 percent of Internet users worldwide will have an avatar [a fictional alter-ego in some online game or other].” And you may recall that sweatshops in China hire people to pore over World of Warcraft to salvage gold from vanquished warriors, for resale. [NOTW M021, 9-2-2007] [New York Times magazine, 6-17-2007]

The Human Condition Today
Theresa Bailey won £5,000 after a sexual harassment trial in Ashford, England, for a lot of “laddish” behavior, such as that the boss frequently “lifted his right cheek” and let one rip in her direction.

Your Daily Loser
Mark Baxter, 19, thought it through part-way, at least. According to police, he did great on the box-switch at Circuit City, coming away with a new Sony VAIO and leaving his old Gateway notebook in the Sony VAIO box. But Circuit City had his credit card number on file, and besides, when the cops checked the Sony, they found some child porn Baxter had just downloaded.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Cheyenne Blanton, 17, and her almost equally delightful old man, Joseph Nagle, 16, charged with assault (and don’t let Cheyenne’s 17 previous juvenile court cases influence your judgment)

NOTW Lite
Least ambitious burglar: He hid in a Kohl’s department store until closing, then had the run of the place, and as near as they can figure, he left with two wallets, a belt, and a tie . . . . . A substitute middle-school teacher showed up for class stewed to the gills, but he said his vanity license plate IMBLZT was intended to mean “I am blessed” rather than “I am blitzed” . . . . . Two trucks street- raced through Huntsville, Ala., at 75 mph in a 50 mph zone, and an ensuing smashup sent a 3-yr-old girl to critical-care, and by the way, both were company trucks of beloved Comcast.

The F State
Dena Patterson, 79, of Brooksville, heard that somebody got paid $28,000 for a grilled-cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it, and so she needs money and is willing to part with that rock she found in 1996 with Virg’s likeness. “I expect to get a lot of money,” she said.

Updates
Yr Editor’s been keeping you up periodically on the latest rate of inflation in Zimbabwe, and it’s now up to 165,000 percent annually, and the gov’t just issued currency of the denomination 500,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars [US$2] . . . . . South Carolina’s 7-ft-tall, Sasquatch-like “Lizard Man,” according to DNA from a recent sighting, was (well, people exaggerate) just a big dog. There’ve been sightings since 1988, though, so maybe a real 7-footer is still out there. (Now, don’t confuse this Lizard Man with Erik Sprague, who body-modified himself to become a sideshow Lizard Man [forked tongue, “scale” tattoos, bumpy implants on his forehead].) [NOTW 622, 1-7-2000] [TheLizardman.com]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe Monday.™

Newsrangers: Kent Cooper, Roger Gulbransen, Steve Miller, Sam Gaines, Kathryn Wood
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird
Turns out Gregory Pillow, who’s been running around Nashville since 1995, off and on,.giving fire-safety talks as a member of the local fire department, isn’t and never was. But all reports are that he does a fine job. Said a Nashville Fire spokeswoman, "[I]t’s a little odd." Same with the 36-year-old "Drug Enforcement Administration agent," "on loan" to the police in the town of Gerald, near St. Louis, helping kick down doors in raids for several months and being really savvy about everything. Said the disappointed mayor, "He was everything you’d think a federal [officer] would be."

Triumph International, the worldwide women’s undies maker, likes fun almost as much as money, and it captured the Weird Press this week with a solar-powered bra (yeah, yeah, you have to wear part of it showing, of course, which is a bug), but in theory it will generate enough juice to run your iPod or cell phone. And here’s a golden-oldie collection of Triumph’s most ridiculous bras.

John Tyler Hammons, 19, is proud to be an Okie from Muskogee (the title of Merle Haggard’s 1969 anti-antiwar, anti-hippie song), especially proud now that he’s been elected mayor of the city. (Bonus: His big issue was restoring trust in gov’t [Ed.: What, can’t trust anyone over 20?]) (Double Bonus: Mayoring a city of 70,000 is apparently an extra-curricular activity, as His Honor still expects to keep up with his classes in Norman, about 130 miles away).

Coaches Out of Control: Coach Poppy Vincent, 74, Bracken Christian School (Bulverde, Tex.) , was fired after his arrest in a San Antonio park, holding a Bible while flashing passersby with his floral panties and bra. Coach Sanford Kaplan, 57, Lincoln (Neb.) Northeast High School’s soccer coach, was arrested on charges that he had taken "numerous" boys over the years and bound, gagged, and blindfolded them, and then dangled ‘em from the rafters of his garage and did some sexual stuff.

Ah, everybody knows ya got a right to counsel at trial, even if ya can’t afford it, but Minnesota judge James Florey zapped that right, for William Lehman, anyway, and this week an appeals court agreed. So in Minnesota you have a right to counsel at trial unless you beat the holy hell out of your lawyer, in open court in front of the judge, splattering blood all over the floor and the defense table. Do that, and you’re on your own.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Much worse. Brit David Aston, 32, is on trial this week in Oxford Crown Court for messing around with a kid and having child porn, but what really brings him to attention is laying a towel down on the ground (to keep from sullying his trousers), pulling ‘em down, getting on all fours, and having teenage girls kick him in the nuts until he can’t take it anymore.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Nathan Michael Grant, whom "Air Force One" had just dropped off on the runway at Dallas/Fort Worth Int’l

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Here, linked from Living the Scientific Life blog, are photos of the ancient Chinese practice of foot-binding women, except it’s not so ancient, still, in some places. [Warning: one shot, especially, is not safe for tender stomachs] The theory was that tiny feet were so-o-o beautiful, and the way to get those was to bind the feet of young girls so tightly that the bones would break and then reset themselves within the small, bound area (thus compressing the foot’s architecture). Yikes.

NOTW, The Blog
Thanks to the several people already who checked in on the "Comments" issue Yr Editor raised yesterday, especially those who warned that Blogger makes Comments a hassle. I am aware that I’ll have to move to a new platform for that, which involves a monthly fee, and I first have to decide whether the revenue will exceed the fee. But thank you for the comments on Comments, and please feel free to write; I read everything with my own two eyes.

Newsrangers: Wendy Palm, Emory Kimbrough, Joe Littrell, Dan Bennett, Rob Snyder
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday’s Creme de la Weird
Sometimes, the news is painful. The official clothing for this summer’s Republican Nat’l Convention in Minneapolis will include Zubaz. They’re not yet offered at the online store, but the Star Tribune ran the convention’s photo-opp yesterday, and there they are!


NOTW, The Blog
Yr Editor’s tinkering with the format here a bit because several people savvier than I have been glumly informing me that a certain percentage of Internetters do like to comment on stories, or offer additional information, and that I, almost alone among all "bloggers," have a format particularly unfriendly to that. So, I’m doing two things. This week, I’m transitioning to individual stories (but only the Creme) (if there’s no Creme that day, I’ll try hard not to force it), but with a roundup, in familiar style, after that. Step two, which is a harder step to take, is to actually open the page for Comments. That’s risky because, of course, I might find out that absolutely nobody gives a bloody hell about anything I write. Hence, I might not do that right away. (I’m so sensitive.) (Maybe if some of y’all volunteered to Comment for a while, whether you wanted to or not, I’d go easier on the Xanax.)


Creme de la Weird
Are you a $50m artist like Mark Rothko? What you do, see, is you get a yellow rectangular canvas, kinda dull yellow, and you put lots of red paint on it so that it covers most of the area, but with the sides all fluffy and the red inconsistent, and you don’t go all the way down with the red but rather double-coat the yellow at the bottom so that it mismatches, and then you put two broken horizontal lines in about the middle of the red so that the yellow shows through, and there’s your $50.4m, right there. N.Y. Times


"It means pets are even more a part of family life as they can enjoy a beer, too," said a guy from the British company importing a Dutch non-alcoholic, steak-flavored, nutrient-enriched, malt-barley-flavored beverage for dogs ("tail-wagging beer" in Dutch, "Dog Beer" in Britain). (About $3.85 for a bottle of about 12 fl. oz.) The Dutch original Kwispelbier got a big news splash in January 2007, and this is the British-import splash. Daily Mail (London)


Gee, you wouldn’t think that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents would have the personal discretion to detain a non-terrorism-related traveler from Italy, in secrecy, on a "hunch" that he came here to work illegally and then resist every attempt over 10 days for loved ones in the U.S. to challenge the "hunch" (including U.S. Sen. John Warner, who is not a loved one but apparently had no stroke with Customs). You may think all that’s fanciful, but you would be wrong, according to this morning’s NY Times. Hunches are powerful things at Customs.


How is the $300B farm bill Congress has put together, to give your tax dollars to well-off farmers, so nonsensical? The Wall Street Journal counts the ways. Several heads-they-win, tails-you-lose provisions remain, such as the "historical planting average" calculation, which pays farmers who "haven’t planted a seed in years" (or who are just rich people who bought farms to diversify investments). And you’re not a "rich farmer" until your income hits $750k (but not really, because you just sign up your spouse and get around it, along with other little tricks).


The GreenfieldNOW.com website, which is affiliated with the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee, Wis., reports from the suburbs that a mother and her sister were cited for supplying tobacco for a minor after a 2-yr-old kid was seen in a Ponderosa restaurant with a cigarette in his mouth, to the giggling delight of the ladies. When the child said "smoke, smoke," it meant he wanted one (unlit, but when the mother said "light, light," the kid knew to hand her a lighter). Then, this:
The aunt said the mother keeps a rolled-up dollar bill in the bedroom, which the child plays with. Any time the boy has the dollar bill he hold [sic] it up to his nose and says, "fix, fix" over and over again.
Er, and the story basically ends right there. Excuse me?


Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Y’all can actually be useful, because the prosecutor here in Weird Central has not charged this man yet with a grisly murder spree because he’s still hospitalized, treated for some drug condition or other, but he was found hiding at the murder scene, which was his girlfriend’s house. Charge him? Edward Allen Covington.


The Human Condition Today
Their Votes Count Same as Yours in November: (1) Jorge Espinal, 44, reached for the first thing he could find to scratch his back, which was a revolver, and . . of course! (2) A 20-year-old man was fried, in critical condition, after scaling a power substation fence and tower, probably to steal eggs from a nest to resell to a pet store. (3) Hazmat officials were sent to Port Salerno, Fla., after a boater pumped 100 gallons of gasoline mistakenly into the hole where you stick your fishing rods (and on into the cellar, er, bilge, and the water).


NOTW Lite
Call me naive, but if I were thinking that having a gay rodeo would undermine those noxious sexual stereotypes, I don’t know whether I’d have a "goat dressing" event, "in which pairs of contestants try to put hot-pink underwear on the hind quarters of an uncooperative goat in the shortest time" (according to a Reuters report) . . . . . Julie Landry’s teaching career is apparently over after one year, following the decision to make that 7-yr-old kid unclog the toilet with his hands . . . . . Marijuana may raise your heart-attack and stroke risk, according to this research, provided that you cooperate with the findings’ parameters and smoke from 11 to 50 joints every single day.


Professor Music’s Weird Links
NOTE: Prof. Music’s been working, and Yr Editor’s been collecting, but this format-transition is getting in the way, temporarily.


Newsrangers: Bob Pert, Christopher Nalty, and a whole slew of people who would use something else to scratch their backs
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday’s Creme de la Weird
Whew! It’s rough out there, two days in a row! The feds in Kansas City have indicted a man and his ex-girlfriend for training her daughter, then 14, to be a “dominatrix,” but it’s unclear whether that was for Internet customers or in person in Blue Springs, Mo. As soon as photos are posted, Yr Editor will direct you to ‘em, y’know, so you can determine whether they’re guilty.

Civilization in Decline
The Airliner as Jungle: Mr. Gokhan Mutlu has sued JetBlue for $2m because the lion-king pilot made him sit for 3 hours in the plane’s toilet (even during turbulence; no airbag needed). (Back story: Mutlu got the last seat, but only on a freebie “buddy” ticket, but an employee riding free, who had first accepted the cockpit jump seat, decided after take-off that she wanted to sit in the cabin.)

The Human Condition Today
Approaching the record for fastest remorse: A Japanese man was said to have immediately left the convenience store he heisted and gone directly to the police station (5 minutes away) . . . . . If inmates need twigs to celebrate their deities, they’ll get them, in Britain, anyway . . . . . And if outgoing Nepalese king Gyanendra needs to kill a buffalo and a duck (and more) to get goddess Kali to pay attention to him, consider it done.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A man from Padua, Italy, was arrested in Venice with one of those shopping bags with a camera lens peeking out (and DVD’s containing 3,000 images); he was a butt man, by the way.

NOTW Lite
Chinese agriculture researchers in Guandong proudly showed off their 2-ft-long cucumbers and other humongous vegetables [photo: big-ass pumpkin] that were grown partly in zero gravity, supposedly one remedy for the world’s food shortage.

Updates
Mainstream Media catch up to News of the Weird: (1) ABC News medic’ed up that Sheyla Hershey/big-breast obsession [NOTW Daily, 5-9-2008], telling her from afar that she’s probably already filled the silicone tank as full as Texas state law will allow. (2) The NY Times this morning caught up with the euthanasia of the Victimless Leather art exhibit [NOTW Daily, 5-5-2008]. (3) The Times did value-add this morning on the significance in Saudi Arabia of “milk siblings,” which are unrelated males and females who were breastfed by the same woman (and therefore, those males are allowed to mingle with those females and see them unveiled). NOTW’s take was somewhat different [NOTW Daily, 5-23-2007]:
An Egyptian scholar, Ezzat Atiya, combing the fine print in the Quran [NOTE: The Times says the practice predates Islam], came up with a way in which an unmarried man and woman actually can be alone with each other. The way to do that, see, is for her to symbolically breastfeed him five times (presumably, in the presence of a male relative of hers). That way, said Ezzat, everyone can be assured that if the man and woman then go off alone, nothing immoral could possibly happen because the Quran says a man could never do bad things with a woman who has breastfed him (presumably meaning his mom, but perhaps the Prophet Mohammad could have been clearer about that). Ezzat has been suspended from his teaching post.
Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Michael Lawlor, Scott Langill, John Holsinger
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday’s Creme de la Weird
There were some arrests a few yrs ago around Tyler, Tex., for a little number they liked to call the Mineola Swingers’ Club, and Yr Editor completely missed it, asleep at the wheel, but now the trials are underway. Four grown-ups (maybe others) taught kids (up to age 10) to give full sexual performances. What’s even more confusing about this (more than, WTF?) is that the first two adults actually chose to go to trial on this, before a jury, in east Texas. (Jury “deliberation”: 4 minutes each!) (Bonus: still ahead is the trial of “Booger Red” Kelly)

Civilization in Decline
Super-Progressive Greens: (1) In Estonia, of all places, they boldly tax farmers on their flatulence, er, well, you know what I mean, and (2) It’s legal now only in MN and NH, two states that offer not only burial and cremation, but the dissolve-and-flush method of eternal disposal . . . . . Speaking of cremation, the Pentagon announced it would no longer use the services of a certain Delaware crematorium that does pets in an adjacent facility (though “they say” there was never any commingling) . . . . . “Kids Who Skip School in Baltimore Likely to Be Shot” (well, a lot likelier than if you stay in class) . . . . . From the Washington Post: “At crime scenes, FBI and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives) agents have threatened to arrest one another and battled over jurisdiction and key evidence. The ATF inadvertently bought counterfeit cigarettes from the FBI–the gov’t selling to the gov’t–because the agencies are running parallel investigations of tobacco smuggling.” (Bonus: Both agencies have the same boss [the Att’y Gen’l]) . . . . . Another British judge sympathetic to an adult railroaded into sex by a hussy 11-yr-old . . . . . Most depressing news: You can make a half-million bucks a yr with a website devoted to helping moms dress their toddlers in the same outfits stars dress their toddlers in.

The Human Condition Today
There was another woman-left-on-toilet story, in Wisconsin, unlike the Kansas one, in that this time she was dead, but this one involved an apparent two-person religion, with the “bishop” telling the “nun” to just leave her there on the throne because God had told him He’d bring her back . . . . . And how, exactly, do so many musicians manage to misplace their ultra-expensive instruments [story has links to examples] . . . . . People Whose Vote in November Counts as Much as Yours: 16 people in South Carolina are under rabies quarantine, some of whom got that way for kissing a [he’s so adorable yes he is] raccoon . . . . . “I am so stupid. This is what I get for trying to run from the police,” said the man, as doctors carefully removed the cactus spikes from all over his body (Bonus: pretty good mug shot, too).

Your Daily Loser
Ishak Boutros, 31, had a doctored-up, “winning” New Jersey scratch-off ticket, which they weren’t stupid enough to accept at the deli or the gas station, so he figured he’d try . . the state Lottery Commission.

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict based on mugshot only]
Lavon Rowells, who must be presumed innocent of grossly ignoring his toddlers (“When you play video games, you get focused on that”)

NOTW Lite
Sounds Like a Joke: Herve Phillippe, a biochemistry professor at the Universite de Montreal, concluded that while the average American produces 20 tons of carbon dioxide a yr, he, being a researcher, produces 44 [and back in Yr Editor’s professoring day, whoa, baby, that’s what we needed: a green reason to be lazy] . . . . . A woman outsmarted her laptop’s alleged thief, Edmon Shahikian, by logging into it remotely and taking a picture of him.

The F State
You will address me as “reverend,” and you will not refer to it as “marijuana”; it’s “cannabis,” and it is “the holy sacrament,” the “tree of life,” the “oil” that will nourish you so that “you will need no other food.” That would be Steven Swalick, not very contrite about being busted with 100 plants in Palm Bay.

Updates
Kansas’s Creekstone Farms is still fighting the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture over its policy to test all its animals for mad-cow [NOTW 850, 5-23-2004]. USDA says that’s too expensive; Creekstone says, no problem; USDA says, Yeah, but that’ll show up Big Agriculture, which doesn’t want to do it; Creekstone says, Yeah, but it’ll help us sell meat to Japan, because they don’t trust U.S. Big Ag. It’s now before the Court of Appeals for decision.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
The Mark of the [whip’s] Lash, “dedicated to those who wear their stripes with pride”

Newsrangers: Raul Stone-Cousley, Karl Olson, Justin Warner, Mark Whybird, Scott Langill, Matt Mirapaul, Mindy Cohen, Mark Neunder, Paul Di Filippo, Paul Music, Kathryn Wood, Jan Wolitzky, Steve Miller, James Wicht
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.